CHOOSING YOUR SUBJECTS
How do you choose your subjects? Hopefully, you consider what the actual subject is first . . . and then articulate what about that thing made you stop and take notice. Hopefully, you have what you need gear-wise to make an image that speaks to why you stopped. Hopefully, you consider what you want in the image before you start shooting “willy nilly” with hopes that you bring home something good (like the bacon).
When I go out to shoot – whether inside at home, out in the back patio, or anyplace in the field – I have a general idea of what I might want to photograph in the small world, much of the time, but not always. Sometimes, I go out with my macro lens or Lensbaby and accessories to see what I can find. My intention is to find a subject that is interesting to me, something that excites me. And, if I’m very lucky, I find something that I can get lost in . . . but let’s get practical.
I look for subjects that spark my interest, that have some unique features, and that hold my attention long enough for me to say, “Why this one … and not that one?” There’s always (and should be) a reason for your choices. I love flowers when they are fresh and new, but I also love the wabi-sabi, dried up, curled and crinkled ones as well. Does my subject have character, distinctive features I can accent? Can I get in close? If so, just how close can I get? And, when I’m faced with multiple options, I work to pare down to one or two of any subject that give me the best potential or a solid image. Then, I state out loud why I made the particular choice of subject. Yes, I do talk to myself in the field. And, it continues as I ponder what I need to get the image I want.
One thing to pay attention to when choosing macro subject is the background. You’ve probably heard that often the background Is as important and sometimes even more than the subject. Is the background super busy? If so, does it work for what you’re trying to do? If not, is it something you can control with aperture choice to soften It up? Are there dark or light patches that are distracting? Can you change your position to get them out? Do the background colors compliment your subject? Again, can you reposition for a more pleasing background? If not, perhaps a different subject choice is in order. What do you want in the image? Is the background helping or hurting your chances for success?